Tools: Real Talk (Dynamicland’s OS) , Adobe- Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects Photoshop, Keynote, Sketch, Rhinoceros 3D, Epilog Laser Cutting software
Team members: Ishan Sain, Kritika Kushwaha & Saloni Dandwate
Key contribution: User Research & Synthesis, System Design, Conceptualization, Storyboarding, Production Design, Physical Prototyping, Visual Design
Focus Area: Augmented Reality, Education, Future Casting
Duration: 6 months
Advisor: Virginia McArthur & Kristian Simsarian
Design Outcome- Concept Video
We envision a future scenario where EPIC will be an integral of the infrastructure, just like a light bulb.
Check out the concept video to understand how we envision the future of learning with Bella a happy fourth grader.
We started this project by understanding the impact of technology on children.While going through multiple articles and reports online, we discovered some startling facts. While the consumption of digital media marginally increases children’s intellectual development, it often comes at the cost of their social and emotional development.
These findings really concerned us as interaction designers, about where our future generation is heading and to dig this deeper we did some on-field research.
Apart from secondary research we wanted to get actual insights from the filed so we started by installing cultural probes to understand people’s perspective of the impact of technology on children. We also went for observation sessions to the Berkeley Middle School and the Maker Faire at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School to see children of various age groups interact with several learning tools.
Visits & On-field Observations
We also conducted interviews with experts ranging from psychologists to teachers as well as parents. Making discussion guides and interview one-pagers helped us digest our research faster and see patterns that lead us to our insights.
System Design & Solution Space
By understanding the whole system we found that a child learns in 3 spaces Home, School and Third spaces like libraries, activity centers and parks etc. Learning in these spaces, together, leads to a child’s wholistic development. Therefore we designed our solutions nested in each of these spaces.
All the research and findings led us to our final insights.
How Might We...design learning tools that bridge the gap between the physical and digital world to bring about holistic cognitive development in children.
Prototype 1 | Space: School
This concept focuses on geometry and basic shapes. Shapes are formed by placing dots on the paper and information about the form appears- teaching children about complex polygons in a fun and playful way. The system adapts to the growing needs of children and gives them more advanced responses based on their skill level, maturity, and curiosity.
Working together to understand problems and complete tasks deepens children’s learning and build collaborative skills.
Prototype 2 | Space: School
By placing the magnetic trigger card on the Interactive poster, dynamic information comes to life. It triggers images, video, and audio depending on the context- helping kids learn and play at the same time. This concept poster focuses on the planets and the solar system.
The teacher can change the content of these posters anytime by printing the new EPIC code sheets available online.
Interacting with new content and exploring concepts allows children to recognize patterns and form questions which helps them make sense of what they are observing.
Prototype 3 | Space: Library (Third Spaces)
This interactive book brings content to life by displaying dynamic information. The user can open the book and rotates the disc, which shows the relationship between different kinds of consumers in the food chain and how they interact with each other.
Self-initiated learning helps children take the initiative and responsibility for their knowledge - teaching them self-governance or self-direction.
Prototype 4 | Space: Home
FrogTalk, a fun game that encourages meaningful conversations and fosters bonding between parents and their children.
Parents can choose to talk about difficult situations like arguments, sharing and caring under the hood of the game. The game thus provides an opportunity to discuss difficult concepts by playfully using different cards.
Children model their parents and learn from them. Social learning happens mostly at home. It results from observing, interacting or modeling Parents and guardians.
Making use of Open days at Dynamicland, we got feedback and iterated our prototypes further. Finally, we fabricated our final prototypes based in three different spaces - HOME, SCHOOL, and LIBRARY.
Making & Prototyping
The making involved learning about the new Operating System. We then built our first set of Sacrificial Concepts, which introduced us to the limitations and possibilities of this technology.
Our initial ideas focused on Storytelling. It helps children to improve a child’s verbal & social skills.
Story Cube: This concept focused on helping kids improve their imagination and make stores by associating it with random picture. The cube is supposed to be used in a group setting where everyone takes a turn to add to growing narrative. This concept failed because Barcode recognition and Projection could not get synced due to the height of the cube and limitations of the OS.
Forever new Storybook: Kids quickly get bored of things and this concept focused on this aspect. In the story book images keep changing every time you turn the page. But after testing we realized that it was difficult to follow a clear story Arc.
Technology – How the system works
The whole system is based on Dynamicland’s Operating System Realtalk (based on Lua programming language). Dots on the Paper work like an identifier (just like a barcode) which makes the code run and in turn the output is displayed on the projection plane.
Children are the Future. So is technology.
Children today are a part of a digital generation, in a world surrounded by technology & the internet. And it cannot be escaped. We need to give them Agency, not Apps so that they can navigate technology in a way that expands their skills and helps them grow. EPIC attempts to do that by making technology an enabler rather than a disabler for childhood learning and development.
Over-all it was a great learning opportunity to work with a non-screen based emerging technology and design with constraints of Realtalk OS (a new Operating system owned by Dynamicland). It helped me challenge myself as a designer and work outside my comfort zone.